What will the little green badge mean for small, local businesses like yours?
If you haven’t already heard, there’s a new, pretty massive Google feature making its mark in the US. And rumour has it, it’s coming to the UK soon. But will the Google Guarantee really signal a major change to the way online advertising works over here?
Let’s talk about the little green Google Guarantee badge. How on earth can Google be guaranteeing work carried out by local businesses? Is it going to spell bad news for advertisers? And how can you get Google-guaranteed?
What’s this little green badge all about, then?
The whole idea behind the Google Guarantee is to increase users’ trust in a local business that’s advertising online through Google. The little white tick in the green badge is a signal that this is a credible brand that users can count on. It’s Google’s way of saying that they’d rather you bought from this ‘guaranteed’ service provider, rather than that less trustworthy one that hasn’t earnt the green badge. It could be pretty important for any local business using Google.
Why? Because if a brand as trusted as Google trusts you, then a user is going to be more likely to trust you too. And if you’ve got the Google guarantee, you’re more likely to sell more online, because users will consider your services expert and truly trustworthy. Recommendations and word of mouth are pretty much the biggest influencers when it comes to winning business for services, after all.
What does the Google Guarantee actually guarantee though?!
But what does Google actually guarantee the user who buys from a business with that little green badge? Up to £2000, that’s what. If a user is dissatisfied by work booked through a Local Services ad and carried out by a Google guaranteed business, they’re entitled to a reimbursement of up to £2000 (or $2000 in the US). Genuinely.
Sounds pretty generous, right? And, well, maybe a little bit unwise of Google?! Before you start thinking about how to put in claims against as many Google guaranteed businesses as you can find, you should know that £2000 is the lifetime cap for any user.
There are only a couple of other criteria for the reimbursement. Firstly, the Google user must make the reimbursement claim within 30 days of the originally agreed service completion date. And secondly, Google will only reimburse for the original service booked through a Local Services ad. So add-ons or future projects booked with the same business won’t qualify.
How and when can you win the Google Guarantee and pull in more punters?
So the bad news is that Local Services and the Google Guarantee aren’t quite ready for the UK. But when they are, it’ll be pretty simple to apply. And rumour has it that it won’t be long before it’s rolled out here.
First off, you’ll need to already be using Google Ads to have any hope (and if you’re reading this, I think it’s pretty likely that you are).
Then, you’ll sign up for Google’s Local Services advertising platform. Local Services is similar to Google Ads but when you use it you pay for leads, not clicks and impressions. You’ll use this form to enter some personal details and basic information about your business. Signing up will be quick and pain-free. It’s the next part that’ll take a bit more out of you.
Checks, checks and more checks (probably worth it though!)
That’s because Google insists that every person that works for you will need to undergo a background check. That includes employees, contractors, temps, workers and vendors; every person who might visit a customer’s location in the name of your business. Makes sense really; if they’re guaranteeing to back the work carried out by anyone associated with your business, they need to be sure that you are actually going to deliver on your promises.
So after you’ve signed up for Local Services ads, someone from Google will contact you to arrange the checks. And while it might be a bit of a faff to have every worker undergo a background check, the good news is that it won’t cost you anything.
If you fail, you’ll be welcome to reapply for Local Services ads 30 days later. Google will let you know what stopped you from passing too, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to make the improvements necessary to get the Google Guarantee.
Your Local Services application acts as an automatic application for the Google Guarantee. So once you’re signed up, you’ll simply wait for Google to get in touch regarding the green badge.
Come on Tash, how important is all this really?
The answer is the one that you’re probably expecting. I don’t really know. It’s too new to say. But what I do know is this: If I were looking for a local service and no-one I knew could give me a recommendation? I’m pretty sure that I’d be persuaded by a guarantee from Google. Wouldn’t you? There aren’t many brands that carry quite so much credibility and trust worldwide, after all.
So while I can’t promise you that the Google Guarantee is definitely going to be the future of advertising online, I will recommend that you at least take note. Local Services ads will likely be rolled out to the UK soon (starting with plumbing and locksmith businesses) and I reckon you should take advantage of it just as soon as you can.
Get used to it, before everyone else does
Once it’s possible to apply for Local Services ads and use them, do it! And spend as much time as possible getting to know the platform so that if it really does take off, you’ll be ahead of the crowd, winning more leads and generating greater income. I know I’ll be getting to grips with it at the first opportunity.